Unlike hot dogs and ketchup, sangria and empty stomachs are not a good combo. Knowing we were in for a two-hour premier I wanted to serve substantial food beyond the usual appetizers.
Hot dogs were the obvious entrée choice and I’ve been dying to do mini mac & cheese for a while. I also dreamed up Bachelorette themed cupcake toppers so I rounded out the menu with a sweet cupcake finish. Throw in some chips and a veggie tray and voila… a perfect dinner for 10 in front of the TV! Pictures and recipes after the jump!
To keep it simple I decided to boil the hot dogs and heat the buns in the oven. Follow these instructions for perfectly boiled dogs!
Boiled Hot Dogs
Fill a medium saucepan three-quarters full of water; bring to a boil. Add hot dogs, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until hot dogs are plump and heated through, about 6 minutes. Serve with your favorite condiments.
Knowing that hot dogs are not the most healthy dinner choice I did my best to make the side dish acceptable for my calorie conscious guests (aka me). I chose Martha Stewart’s recipe for Lighter Macaroni & Cheese and even used 35 calorie bread! The original recipe calls for tomatoes but I chose to leave them out.
The result? It was definitely not as rich as normal mac & cheese but it was still exceptionally tasty. Plus the mini ramekins ($1 a piece at Pier 1) were adorable and allowed for perfect party portions. The recipe made more than enough and it filled 12 mini ramekins plus a small casserole dish. Actually, I’m craving the leftovers in my fridge right now! Props to my sister who was sweet enough to cook this dish for me!
Martha’s “Lighter” Mac & Cheese (without tomatoes)
Makes 16 Mini Ramekins
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for sprinkling
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
5 slices white sandwich bread, with crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
8 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Process bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta. Cook pasta until almost al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, and run under cold water to stop cooking. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
- Whisk 1/2 cup stock into the flour in a medium bowl; set aside. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in nutmeg, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add milk and remaining 1 1/2 cups stock. Whisk in flour mixture. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce to a simmer. Cook 8 minutes, whisking frequently. Add cheeses; cook, stirring, until melted. Pour over macaroni, stirring to combine.
- Put fifteen mini ramekins on a baking sheet. Divide macaroni mixture evenly among ramekins. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and thyme sprigs. Bake until bubbling and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
Lastly, I served these cute cupcakes for dessert. I attempted to ice the cupcakes differently than normal, using a star shaped icing tip.
I used “fluffy” icing for the green and blue cupcakes and regular for the pink. In my opinion, the pink turned out much better!